MotoGP : 2005 kicks off with Rossi second fastest in free practice
Round: 1 - Jerez MotoGP
Date: 8 April 2005
Yamaha used the first day of practice for the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix
to continue working on the setting of their YZR-M1 machines on a cool and cloudy
day at Jerez. A new practice format, which includes just one qualifying session
on the eve of the race, meant that the riders and engineers were able to work
without qualifying pressure today and focused all their efforts on preparing for
Sunday's 2005 curtain raiser at the Andalusian circuit.
Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were quickly on
the pace this morning. The picked up from where they had left off after the
three day IRTA tests, held at this circuit just over a week ago, to lap
comfortably inside the top five quickest times. However, cooler track conditions
in the afternoon meant that both riders were unable to improve their times in
the second session as they experimented with different set-up configurations.
The Fortuna Yamaha Team paring of Toni Elias and Ruben Xaus showed a consistent
form despite the fact that they started the day suffering from some of the small
set-up problems they were unable to eliminate during the IRTA test. By the
afternoon session both Spanish rider has made some progress and are now looking
forward to tomorrow.
Sete Gibernau (Honda), the only man to lap quicker than Rossi (1'40.886) in the
morning, also failed to improve in the afternoon but his lap of 1'40.800
remained untouched and the Spaniard now leads the timesheets overnight. With a
time just 0.086 behind Gibernau in the morning, Rossi stayed firm in second
place but his team-mate Edwards (1'41.556) dropped to eighth after Nicky Hayden
(Honda, 1'40.894), John Hopkins (Suzuki, 1'40.934), Marco Melandri (Honda,
1'41.212), Max Biaggi (Honda, 1'41.424) and Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki, 1'41.424)
all improved. The riders will have one more free practice on Saturday morning
before the eagerly-anticipated single qualifying session in the afternoon, when
Rossi will look to repeat his pole position performance from last season.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 2nd, 1'40.886
"This morning was good but this afternoon it was more difficult, we had a few
problems, so I'm not entirely happy. We made some changes to the settings to try
and improve the situation but it seemed to get more difficult to improve my
time! However, there was no qualifying today so Friday's lap time is not as
important as it used to be. Our objective today was to work on the setting of
the bike and that is what we have done. Tomorrow we will keep going and make
some changes to the suspension to find a better feeling with the front-end of
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team) - 8th, 1'41.556
"We did a good job this morning, using basically the same setting we found here
over the three days of tests. People might wonder why we would change that in
the afternoon but the track conditions were quite different today - with cooler
temperatures and a bit of grime on the surface. We had an idea that we thought
would improve the overall performance of the bike but unfortunately that didn't
turn out to be the case and in hindsight it was probably too big a step. The
good thing is that we know what we have to do tomorrow. The new practice format
is really cool - we've been able to work calmly today and I think it's going to
be a lot of fun once qualifying gets going tomorrow afternoon."
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Yamaha Team Director
"Today was the first day for us with the new practice format and we found it to
be much better. We were able to continue our work from the tests here and work
towards finding a race setting for the bike without worrying about a hot lap. It
was useful for both riders and their lap times weren't bad, although neither of
them has got the settings of their bike 100% yet. Tonight we have to check over
the data and we'll see if we can improve things in the morning. We have plenty
to do but it's only Friday so we're definitely not worried!"
Toni Elias (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 15th, 1'42.328
"I'm pretty happy with today. We made significant steps forward despite the fact
that this morning we started with similar set-up problems as the ones we had
during the IRTA test two weeks ago. But we put our heads down and worked through
those throughout the day and we found we were heading in the right direction.
That's what's important because tomorrow is what counts."
Ruben Xaus (Fortuna Yamaha Team) - 17th, 1'43.215
"We decided we had to take it easy today, which I didn't do during the pre
season testing program. If I remain calm, like I was today, then we will improve
tomorrow for sure. We have the bike, the team and the tyres to do just that so
there is no reason why we can't. Tomorrow I'll continue with the same approach
and take things one step at a time."